Washington accounted for 321 total yards and had a pivotal 39-yard touchdown run that helped the Yellow Jackets hold on for a wild 38-31 victory over Duke on Saturday.
He rushed for 136 yards and added 185 through the air on 6-of-13 passing for Georgia Tech (8-3, 5-3 Atlantic Coast Conference). The Yellow Jackets rolled up 549 total yards, scored on four consecutive possessions and held off Duke’s late charge to win for just the second time in 1½ months and clinch their third eight-win season in four years under coach Paul Johnson.
“At times, it wasn’t always perfect,” Washington said. “This wasn’t always good at times. But the end result, we finished out strong, we got the win, we got the results we came here for.”
Sean Renfree matched a career high with four touchdown passes for the Blue Devils (3-8, 1-6). His 10-yard TD to Cooper Helfet – his second scoring pass to the tight end – pulled Duke within seven points with 6:37 left.
Duke forced a fumble from Charles Perkins and took over at its 34 with 3:44 left. Renfree threw deep down the sideline for Helfet, and Jamea Thomas – whose pass interference penalty two series earlier kept alive a Duke touchdown drive – jumped in front of the pass and picked it off with 2:20 left. Georgia Tech then ran out the clock to seal its eighth consecutive win in the series.
“The first time I got the pass interference, I was trying to play the hands,” Thomas said. “So this time, when I got in position, I decided to just look back, and when I looked back, the ball was coming.”
Renfree finished 26 of 42 passes for 250 yards with touchdown passes covering 15 yards to Conner Vernon, 12 yards to Donovan Varner and 3 yards to Helfet for Duke, which lost its sixth in a row.
“We don’t have moral victories,” coach David Cutcliffe said. “But it’s important that you play about as well as you can play. What I saw out there on the field and on the sideline ... That was totally a team effort of focus and competitiveness and a valiant effort. It’s a great statement and a legacy that our seniors have left us here. We’ve brought it every time we’ve come to play.”
Washington showed once again just how capable he is of coming up with big plays both with his feet and his arm. He broke a pair of tackles during his long scoring run, which came 3 minutes after Duke had pulled within 31-24.
The Yellow Jackets entered having lost three of four.